My co-worker asked me as I arrived at work on a rainy day, dripping wet, in my running clothes. So hard not to be sarcastic sometimes... It was asked with such incredulity & disbelief that if I just listened to the tone and ignored the content, he may well have been asking: You let your toddler drink out of the toilet?
I know this is a common runner's experience, the disbelief we elicit in other when despite the [rain, wind, cold, sweltering heat, hail, tornadoes, tsunamis] we go out and do our run anyway. I am actually constantly surprised at their surprise because let's face it, if I only ran when it was not precipitating and between 5 - 20 deg C (which seem to be the only conditions under which people are not surprised that I am running) I would only run about 50 days a year. I AM self aware enough to know that I do somewhat enjoy the reactions to my running in less than unusual circumstances [to the airport backpack on back to catch a flight with colleagues, at lunchtime instead of eating, at 2 am to get home after working late on a pressing deadline, when 9 months pregnant]. I also know that of the few people who read this blog, few if anyone will find any of that strange (what is a few of a few anyway?).
But incredulity at running in the rain? Really? Has our society gotten that soft? I don't mean that in an arrogant sort of way because I know that I have gotten soft. I buy convenience foods & take out instead of cooking, heck I buy food instead of growing it! I spend $3 riding the bus when I could easily walk or run. I HIRE someone else to clean my home once every two weeks. The North American lifestyle has gotten so work-obsessed, convenience-driven and so avoidant of any adverse conditions that even running in the rain now seems like an inconceivable hardship.My grandmother lived to be almost 100 and, as any person who lives that long, saw tremendous changes in her lifetime. I think she happened to live through a period of incredible transformation in the daily life. Also, like all people who lived through the depression, raised children during the depression, she was shocked and appalled and the waste and excess she saw later in her life. I know everyone's grandparents have stories of walking 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow (well actually my Grandmother did not, she was not fortunate enough to attend school after grade 5 as she was needed on the farm). Ultimately I know the generations that came before are always dismayed by the change, waste, excess, lack of seriousness, softness of the people who come after. But if running in the rain evokes such strong reactions of surprise & shock... this is indicative of a larger problem. My grandmother never found it surprising when I rain in the rain.